Abhisar Sharma, a popular name in the world of media is also an author. His first book of the The Taliban Conundrum trilogy, Eye Of The Predator was very well received by critics and readers. The second book of the trilogy The Edge Of Machete has been released recently and is already in the news. I got a chance to interview him and here is what he has to say about his personal life, professional life and life as an author.
Ques. What inspired you to write “The Taliban Conundrum” trilogy?
Ans. Well there was no inspiration to write a trilogy. It all fell into place. I wrote Eye of the predator because the plot of Pakistan’s most powerful man dying while in an act of fornication and the entire conspiracy behind his death was very appealing and even seductive. I started writing The Edge of the Machete because the scenario of a CIA agent captive in the hands of the Taliban was very thrilling and I just started developing the plot. It ultimately became the story of 3 people, an undercover CIA agent, a British white Muslim and a kidnapped Indian journalist who find themselves in the most dangerous place of the world. Now The Edge of the Machete ends at a place where it demands a sequel that I am currently writing. Its called “The Dark Side Of Me”. So it all became a part of a trilogy which was unintended and accidental.
Ques. How much time did you take to write your first book “Eye Of The Predator” and the recent one “The Edge Of The Machete”?
Ans. Eye of the Predator took exactly 3 months and Edge of the Machete took 9. But it was just that I wrote “Eye of the Predator in a hurry , like a man possessed. But when I started writing “the Edge of the Machete, I took my time, not to rush up things.
Ques. There are too many genres that you could have opted for. Why only thrillers? Do you see yourself writing any other genre?
Ans. Both novels were not intended as thrillers. Its my agent and the publishers who have branded them as thrillers. My third novel is a coming of age , growing up kind of book, tentatively titled “A hundred lies for you”. Story of a 13 year old in the backdrop of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. This is a story of dreams unfulfilled, friendship , betrayal, revenge served cold and brutal, love in its purest form and quite a shocker from the genre that I have attempted till now.
Ans. I often used to think, what could be the worse case scenario? Lamb in a Lions cage? Oil drums surrounded by raging fires? A CIA agent in Taliban captivity? It was this premise that I started developing. Edge of the Machete is the story of Ed Gomez sent to avenge his best buddy in the CIA rechristened as Sarfaraz Khan, the next big thing in the world of Jehad. But as he dives into the mission, the lines between his original identity and his assumed identity start blurring. The adulation of the poster boy of Jehad is seductive. Its also a story of 3 other people. Rahul Sharma an Indian journalist caught by the Taliban in Kabul and brought to Khyber in Pakistan and Shaun Marsh, a British white Muslim who is supposed to execute Rahul on tape.
Ques. How would you define Abhisar Sharma as a person?
Ans. Open minded, emotional, free of prejudices, short tempered, restless, easily provoked, indulgent, passionate and not the guy you would want to mess with. :)
Ques. And Abhisar Sharma as a writer?
Ans. That’s for my readers to decide. I only write things that appeal to me.
Ques. How tough it is to write a thriller?
Ans. Its just those writers blocks that I am afraid of. They last for days and months. Otherwise writing is very fulfilling. It’s a beautiful world out there when you write fiction. You create characters that are an extension of you or maybe extension of people you have known.
Ques. Was it too tough for you to get your first book published?
Ans. Thankfully not. But the road after the publishing was difficult because for some reason the marketing division of the first publishing house was not excited about my book. It died a premature death and I still mourn it.
Ques. With so many books flooding in these days, what would be your advice to the young writers who are planning to write a book?
Ans. Just write if you have a story to tell. Write what you believe in. It does not matter if you have a limited vocabulary. If you have a story to tell and if you have content, go! If Abhisar Sharma can write 3 books and get published, anyone can!
Ques. Being the face of a popular news channel like Aaj Tak, how tough it is to manage your personal life, professional life and writing books? Does it take a toll on you?
Ans. Big Time! My work in Aaj Tak takes nearly 11 hours of my life daily. I write when I come back home. Around 11 in the night and I write till late. That takes a toll on my health. I have put on weight since I have started writing. I have become insomniac. My allergies have increased. So, its a big whammy. But I would not leave writing. Its like this amazing affair, like a fatal attraction. But, now I have started regulating my time. I have also started taking care of my health.
Ques. Any special moment associated with your books that you would like to share with us? Your most favourite compliment about your book ?
Ans. The best compliment I got for “The Edge of the Machete” was by celebrated writer and journalist Hussain Zaidi( the writer of Black Friday and the Mafia queens of Mumbai. ) .He said it is unputdownable. He said it is better than Frederic Forsyth’s “THE AFGHAN”. I think I was dreaming. But I did not pinch myself. It felt good.
So, that was Abhisar Sharma, candid and straight forward at his best. His book, The Edge Of Machete has been reviewed here by me.
And you can get in touch with the author on twitter @Abhisar_Sharma ( Yes, he does respond there). His books are available on all the popular online portals and bookstores. Grab your copy soon. I have read both his books and they are unputdownable. Read them.